How well has The Karate Kid aged?
Updated: Sep 21
A few weeks ago, I put on Netflix's Cobra Kai and absolutely loved it. I showed it to my girlfriend and decided to open up a bottle of red wine from 1983 to pair with the nostalgic taste of 1980's gold.
We ended up binge-watching the series that picks up on the high-school rivalry between Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso played by William Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
My interest in the series came from the comedy How I Met Your Mother that focused on Barney Stinson's love of the 1984 film but where Neil Patrick Harris' character favors the bully Johnny Lawrence and not the Karate Kid.
Fast forward a few years and we see the creation of Cobra Kai and I loved the season which left me feeling for both characters as they try to make peace but end up rubbing each other the wrong way.
The karate kid is now a successful businessman and we seem to see the influence that both men's teachers had on them. Sorry, I should say their senseis.
Finishing both seasons of Cobra Kai and anxious for more, my girlfriend and I decided to open up a 1983 bottle of Protus red wine from Bodega Ribera Duero to watch the original film that sparked four sequels and the original is an absolute classic which has aged very well and pairs really well with the new tv series which is complete with all the original actors. Well, not all the actors.
Mr Macchio's memory is preserved but the actor Pat Morita passed away in 2005 at the age of 73.
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita's powerful performance as the Karate Kid's sensei and mentor earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1985 for Best Supporting Actor and his memorable role still lasts.
Watching the film a few decades later, I enjoyed watching Mr Macchio arguing that there are no bad students only bad teachers which is important when we see the difficulties the All Valley High students face when they bump into each other, 30 something years later.
34 years later and the actors have held up very well, they still have their hair and their karate kicks but now they are fathers, and each of them set-up rival dojos where their students clash with one another.
In the original film, we see the bully is not as bad as we first perceived him in the 1980s, and by the end of the film, he is congratulating the Karate Kid when he wins and actually hands him the trophy.
Yes, Daniel LaRusso has much more balance in his life thanks to the coaching of Mr Macchio but since the maintenance man from Okinawa who works at LaRusso's apartment complex spends all his time training Danny to win the All Valley Karate tournament instead of maybe fixing and filling the swimming pool at the apartment complex, maybe the community lost out on a pool so that LaRusso could kick the competition. I guess, The Swimming Kids doesn't sound as kick-ass as Karate Kid.
Like a good wine, Karate Kid has aged beautifully and I am sure families are now watching Cobra Kai and the original 1984 classic together. I am sure Executive Producer and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Will Smith is watching the series with his son Jaden Smith who was the star of Karate Kid 5, back in 2010.
HOW I MET THE KARATE KID: Barney Stinson explains who the Karate Kid really was.